Saving Ninja https://thesavingninja.com Quietly saving, trying to become a millionaire without anyone noticing. Tue, 05 Oct 2021 18:28:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://i2.wp.com/thesavingninja.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/cropped-site-logo-no-bg2.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Saving Ninja https://thesavingninja.com 32 32 150195154 Savings Report #39 – A New Decade https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-39-a-new-decade/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-39-a-new-decade/#comments Wed, 06 Oct 2021 06:30:00 +0000 https://thesavingninja.com/?p=503753 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.



I increased my monthly savings by another £1,200 this month as I realised I’m probably keeping a little too much as an emergency fund at around £13k. After calculating our budget last month, this figure would cover 12 months of expenses for both me and my wife, and she has a few thousand pounds as an emergency fund too. These new monthly contributions should see my emergency fund drop slowly over the coming months until it’s at a more appropriate level.

Goodbye 20s

My wife turned 30 years old this month, I’ll be following suit in 3 months time. This also marks the time that we’ve been in a relationship: a decade. It only seems like yesterday when I met an excited 19 year old in freshers week of University, an exotic southerner to my Mancunian self – I’d never met one before!

The 10 years that proceeded have been filled with new things. I was shown that beautiful beaches do exist in England as I was bought out of my northern bubble. We’ve travelled all over the UK, lived in three different countries, lived in 7 different houses together and bought 2 of them; we’ve built careers and got married. What will the next decade bring?

Managerial Pursuits

One of my goals this year was to interview for an engineering management position at least twice, or get a role. I’ve already interviewed for one a number of months ago and even though my 4h of interviews went “really well” they decided they needed someone with more hands on experience.

I’ve since been focusing on becoming an EM within my existing product area. Last month I was given the role of Tech Lead of the product area and I’m now in the leadership groups and meetings with all of the other managers. I’m running my own ‘Tech Steering Group’ of 10 engineers (although without the line management,) and I’m gaining all of that invaluable leadership experience.

I have more interviews coming up to for a level 1 EM role, but I’m doubtful I’ll get this as they may need a higher level for this particular role too (I’ll find out before the next Savings Report.) But with my new TL role, I’m hoping that transitioning into an EM is only a matter of time. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Monthly Round-Up

  • Framework laptop
    • A fully modular and repairable laptop that is as good as a MacBook? Yes please.
  • Ninte
    • A software manager for keeping your favourite utilities and programs up to date. Have you ever used CurseForge to manage Addons for games like World of Warcraft? This is like that but for your Windows software.
  • Glary Utilities
    • Ninte led me to a few other awesome utility software, including this one. It helps you clean up your PC, repair problems, update software, and tighten up your security! It got a little annoying as it kept prompting me to buy a license, but disabling it from launching at start up solved this.
  • TeraCopy
    • A safer and quicker way to copy or cut large amounts of data on your Windows PC. I used this to transfer around 50GB of wedding photos and was super impressed by the speed! I don’t know how they do this.
  • Amazing Pixelart
    • I started using my old personal Twitter account that I set up when I was a budding game developer. I fell in love with this account and their pixel art. Scroll through them for a while and see how amazing they are! They invoke a certain nostalgic and calm feeling.

How was your month?

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How Expensive is Living in Sweden? https://thesavingninja.com/how-expensive-is-living-in-sweden/ https://thesavingninja.com/how-expensive-is-living-in-sweden/#comments Fri, 17 Sep 2021 06:31:38 +0000 https://thesavingninja.com/?p=503726 Before moving to Sweden everyone told me how expensive it would be to live here. Even fellow bloggers scoffed at the prospect of the SavingNinja...

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Before moving to Sweden everyone told me how expensive it would be to live here. Even fellow bloggers scoffed at the prospect of the SavingNinja moving to Sweden!? The country with one of the highest income tax and VAT rates in the world! I wouldn’t be able to call myself the SavingNinja for much longer, they said.

When I first arrived here, I found it hard to swallow the insanely high food prices, it seemed everything that we usually bought back in the UK was at least 3 times as expensive, sometimes even more than that. Eating out was another big shock, paying over £25 for a main course per person is the norm in any type of restaurant here, even for a burger and chips.

Your average McDonalds meal will cost around £10, and a 440ml ‘Swedish pint’ of beer in most restaurants will also cost you around £10. Don’t even ask about the cost for a bottle of wine. I thought we would be spending SO MUCH MORE, my FIRE plans would be sullied for sure.

Now that I’ve lived here for over a year, and I’ve settled into a house that I’ve bought with my wife, it’s about time that I go back to the Budget Spreadsheet and calculate our expenses. So, now it’s time for the moment of truth, how much more expensive is it to live in Sweden over the UK?

Is Living in the UK Cheap?

One of my most popular SavingNinja posts was this one; How to Live Off 10k Per Year. It documented what my living expenses were living in the UK and what I did to reduce costs and live on under minimum wage whilst still living a high-quality life.

The TL;DR of that post is that my mandatory yearly spending was £7,856. Adding in £1,500 per year for holidays, and £150 per month on spending/miscellaneous money, that came to £9,356 per year. Which everyone found crazy!

I had people at London meet ups bring up this same blog post even years later saying how impressive that low level of spending was. I’d like to take credit for it, but really it wasn’t that hard, once I’d reduced my cost for the big expenses like my car and my home, everything else came naturally – I’m a cheapskate by nature!

This old post will be the perfect yard stick to compare against my Swedish spending now that I’ve filled in this years Swedish budget on the SavingNinja Budgeting Spreadsheet. Remember, the £10k per year post was released before I started commuting into London, after that my yearly spend went up to around £11,153.

England Vs Sweden The Big Budget Battle!

I’ll create this budget a little differently than the How to Live Off 10k Per Year post. Instead of naming my own expenses, I’ll state the total cost for both me and my wife, then split it at the end to compare. Some things are slightly different, between me and my wife’s expenses, for example she has to spend £7 per month for her SIM card, I get mine from work; she also has slightly increased costs for buying gifts for her family and commuting into Stockholm on the bus, I’ll omit these differences in the list below for comparisons sake as the prior post focused on my expenses alone.

Food: £50 per month
Now this is kind of cheating a little bit. My company pays around £200 per month after tax onto a food card which is meant to cover lunches when working from home, but this same card can be used to buy normal groceries so I’ve docked £200 off the food budget for both me and my wife.

BUT, at effectively £250 per month, I’ve got to say, this shocked me! I thought Sweden would be WAY more expensive in this category. But it seems that even though some things are 3 times more expensive, some food items are about the same price as they would be in the UK, and some food items are even slightly cheaper. We just stopped buying the really costly food items and found new cheap favourites.

Salmon is one of those things that works out cheaper, in Asda the cheapest fresh salmon would cost you around £11 per kilogram, or £19 for a half-decent looking salmon. In Sweden you can get a really nice full salmon for £8 per kilogram.

We still cook our favourite meals from scratch, buy a fair amount of alcohol (although we now buy box wine as it works out as £5 per bottle, just like in the UK,) and we buy lots of vegetables and fruit. Good cuts of steak are not actually priced too high here either, in-fact, we’ve definitely snagged a few deals by buying in bulk and freezing. All things considered, a 25% increase in food costs isn’t too bad (if we didn’t have the food card paying for most of it.)

UK food: £200 – 75% decrease
Winner: Sweden (kinda)


Housing costs: £890 per month (mortgage, ground rent, house insurance),
The mortgage we had in the UK (before we got an employee discount mortgage loan) was £638 per month. Our Swedish housing costs £253 more. A little higher, but not too bad considering we’re in a more expensive home here. We paid £195k for our UK house in the South East, in Sweden for our sea view property we paid about £300k, our loan is roughly 25% larger.

There are also some other things to consider. We don’t pay council tax here, and our water bill and bin collection is included with the ground rent. Combined, these two expenses came to £144 total each month in the UK, taking that off the £253 difference and a £109 increase seems like a steal considering the house price difference.

UK housing: £782 – 12% increase
Winner: draw


Bills: £95 per month
The only bills we pay in Sweden are electricity and internet, gas isn’t very common here. The electricity bill comes to around £74 per month and the internet, £21. My company pays for my phone and an unlimited service plan. We actually spend less on TV here as we now use my wife’s parents Netflix account for free. There’s no such thing as the TV license here either (not that we paid it in the UK anyway!)

UK bills: £100 – 5% decrease
Winner: Sweden


Transportation: Insurance £568, tax £96, fuel £120, service/repairs £1,400 (hopefully less!)
Total: £784 – £2,184 per year
This car is the first ever car that me and my wife have split equally, as we both don’t need one for work. We bought this compact van to make our life a little easier and so we can go on more trips around Sweden without worrying about renting a car. We also hope that leasing the car out on GoMore will cover at least half of this cost (we’ve leased it out twice already!) The low fuel cost of £10 per week is because we barely use it, it sits on the driveway waiting to be leased out most of the time, and the two times it’s been rented they’ve even left us with a bit more fuel in it.

We preliminarily budgeted for £1,400 per year in service and repair costs. This could be higher or lower, but we’re hoping it won’t cost us much as it’s only a few years old (famous last words.)


Miscellaneous: £35 per month
£25 for pet expenses, mainly food, and £10 for essentials like shampoo, bubble bath, and toilet roll. Over the years we’ve become more zero-waste so we don’t have many consumable purchases. We use hankies that my wife made out of old shirts, we have Swedish cloths for cleaning and reusable napkins instead of kitchen roll, and we compost and recycle everything so no bin bags! My wife has everything reusable; MoonCup, and a Magic Make-up Remover Cloth, saving over £100 per year. Our clothes wash better with an EcoEgg and it saves us SO MUCH compared to buying consumable detergent. Next level is a bidet.

Holiday pot: £3,000 per year
We decided to keep our holiday pot exactly the same, we definitely didn’t spend all of this the last few years but we hope to try to in the coming ones. To gauge this figure we calculated our total expenses for the snowboarding holiday we went on last Christmas. This was in a pretty expensive area of Sweden and adding up the costly 7h train tickets (which we booked first-class,) two 6-8 day ski-pass’s, 10 nights stay in self-catering hotel-style AirBnB apartment right next to the slope, and some fun money for restaurants, it came to £1,460 total.

We realise this was the cheapest we could go for a snowboarding holiday of that length here, and for the next one we may want to stay somewhere a little nicer with a sauna – at least for a few nights – but we also realised that if we went on a summer holiday, we’d spend way less. Our summer trips generally involve a bit of a pricier plane ticket and then slumming it in an AirBnB and exploring each day.

One of our favourite holidays was to the Czech Republic and the total for that trip was under £500 for the both of us, even with eating out most days! We managed a week in New York for under £1,000 for Christmas a few years ago. We explored all of the Swedish West Coast this summer and only paid the price of fuel as we wild-camped.

We think we’ll be able to go on a snowboarding holiday every year and continue exploring the world for £1,500 per person each year, but we don’t mind increasing this if we need to!

Luxury Pot: £1,500 per year
This has actually dropped considerably. Our previous budget had the luxury pot total amount at £2,400. In the past I was accounting for upgrading our house like renovating the kitchen and bathroom. Here in Sweden, I don’t feel like they’re is much else to do, at least not for the next year.

We tried to add up what big things we might buy per year, even if we were to buy one big-ish thing like a SteamDeck, or a new snowboard, or a shed, we’d still come under this amount; so £1,500 seemed like a nice figure in case we wanted to buy something extra. We’re lucky that we bought all of the things we needed/wanted when we first moved here before doing this budget!

Fun fact: I haven’t bought any new clothing for at least 2 years. I still want to decrease the amount that I do own so everything can fit into a backpack.

The Grand Reveal!

So, there you have it, our Swedish budget complete. Here are the figures:

Necessary Expenses
Between £13,204 and £15,388 per year combined.
£6,602£7,694 each.

This depends on if the compact van costs us anything in yearly repairs, how much those cost, and if we’ve not leased it out to cover some of the expenses. We’ll account for the maximum, but expect the minimum.

But, hang on a minute…. Even £7,694. That’s UNDER the necessary expenses total of the 10k Per Year post which was £7,856. Whaaaat!

Using the 25x rule, this essential spending makes me effectively 138% FI based on a net worth of £271k.

Mind blown.

What is actually going on here? Sweden should be more expensive. The answer seems to be the employee food card accounting for £2,400 of our food budget each year, this warps things a bit, because if I truly did retire, I wouldn’t have access to this. I also wouldn’t have access to the employee phone and plan for that matter. But even still, adding on £1,200 still brings the maximum per person to £8,894 – not too much more than the aforementioned post. And certainly way less than my London commute budget.

I think this points to the fact that Sweden isn’t more expensive than the UK. If you live a pretty minimalistic life anyway, and adapt your grocery list to new tastes, it’s kind of the same. And over here, you won’t be strapped with £50k student loan debt, you’ll get 12 months fully paid maternity and paternity leave, and you’ll never have to worry about health care, even old-age live in costs are paid for (you won’t have to squander your inheritance paying for nursing homes like in the UK!) Not to mention the free child care.

That’s pretty cool.

Adding Luxury to The Mix

We decided to budget for £4,500 in total for luxury, which is the £3,000 holiday pot and an ‘anything else’ luxury pot. This brings our total figures to:

Total Expenses
Between £17,704 and £19,888 per year combined.
£8,852£9,944 each.

This puts us way below the £24,316 London commute budget and around the same as the £9,356 each budget in the 10k Per Year post.

If we manage to stick to this budget, it should allow us to save 76.93% of our total take home pay. 83.85% for me and 63% for my wife. This is a number is similar to our post-London budget prediction, but in that one I was saving £40k per year into a pension, tax free. This one see’s most of that 83.85% going into my pre-pension pot, which is awesome!

I’ve got to say, I’m pleasantly surprised that we managed to stay under the £10k per year mark.

Maybe I should stop moaning about how expensive Sweden is?


Caveat

I know what a lot of you are thinking. You’re not truly FIRE, most of your investments are in a pension. Yes, yes, I know. I could argue to you all day about building a pension bridge, and about side-hustle income like my new writing gig. But the truth is: I’d probably struggle if I did quit today. It would also be foolish of me to do so, what happens if we have children or want to move to some place else? Our budget will surely change.

But this post is an exercise in statistics and budgeting. I never intended to actually retire when I reached my ‘leanFI’ number. I plan on staying with my current employer for at least another 4 years, and working in some capacity after that, along with creating many more passive income streams. This should make the exercise of ‘would I actually be able to retire?’ purely theoretical. When I do break out of the cave I should be a lot more safe, or fatFI as some like to call it.

But that’s not to say I can’t call myself Theoretically FI right now! :]

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Savings Report #38 – Becoming a Book Author https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-38-becoming-a-book-author/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-38-becoming-a-book-author/#comments Mon, 06 Sep 2021 07:30:00 +0000 https://thesavingninja.com/?p=503714 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.



The markets rebounded a little this month earning my portfolio a 2.33% gain across the board. I’m in slightly uncharted territory right now as my net worth and invested amount goals for the year were 250k and 200k. I flew past those figures already and there are still 4 months left of 2021!

Getting Paid to Write

I didn’t read much when growing up. I’m embarrassed to say that the amount of books I had read at the age of 21 could have been counted on one hand. But since my wife got me into reading 8 years ago, I read books almost every single day. I now find reading a good novel more enjoyable than watching TV and I can happily say that I’ve got over 100 books under my belt, most being 500 page fantasy behemoths!

Reading changed my life for the better, not just as it’s an enjoyable and relaxing hobby, but as it also led me to becoming a better writer. In a world where writing is becoming more important, even in software engineering, I can confidently say that I attribute a lot of my successful job applications to good writing. SavingNinja definitely wouldn’t exist if I didn’t enjoy writing either, one of the reasons I created this website was to hone this particular skill, and it’s certainly improved as can clearly be seen by looking at some of my older posts.

This has all led to one of my long term goals of wanting to publish a book. I dream of being FIRE in a mountain cabin somewhere, writing each day and watching as a new world materialises out of my thoughts and dreams.

Last month I was given the opportunity to trial at a company who would pay me to write, $400 per article, in fact. A hefty sum for doing what I normally do for free. I’m happy to say that they accepted me as an author and I’ll be writing for them in addition to continuing my main job as a software engineer.

What’s even better is these articles are technical tutorials, so I get to study and learn something new about a programming language, then write about it, and get paid at the same time! It really is a dream gig for me, and I attribute it all to reading, and writing on this blog.

I had my first tutorial published in August, and to my surprise it was requested by Google to be added as a chapter in an upcoming book. I need to send in my bio and a headshot for it to be printed on the book as an author. Dream accomplished!? Not quite… I still have that dream of publishing a book as the sole author, but this is one awesome step that I didn’t think would come my way this soon.

My next tutorial is almost finished which will explore building a mobile game in a modern multi-platform programming language which adds even more things that I love; video game development! I actually studied video games programming at university but never made a game after I left. Who would have known that it would take money to entice me to do what I love?

Monthly Round-Up

  • WinDirStat
    • Best program for deleting files and making space. This software is incredible for someone who doesn’t have a huge hard drive and needs to regularly make room, it’s free and intuitive.
  • How writing can advance your career as a developer
    • As referenced in the post above, I found this article by Stack Overflow really inspiring, and made me even more thankful for this blog!

Not much for the round-up this month I’m afraid!

How was your month?

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Savings Report #37 – Swedish Road Trip https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-37-swedish-road-trip/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-37-swedish-road-trip/#comments Thu, 05 Aug 2021 12:52:01 +0000 https://thesavingninja.com/?p=503692 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.



Another month, another slow upward climb of my finances.

My pre-pension pot is growing quite nicely, almost at that special £100k figure. Although it sucks that £60k of that is in a UK ISA which would be subject to 30% capital gains tax if I ever withdrew it whilst living in Sweden. I really should have withdrawn it before I left the country. It was so difficult to predict whether to withdraw, as if I ever came back to the UK, I would have preferred to leave it in.

It’s really unfair how the Swedish tax system works in this regard. They should just take capital gains for when I moved here, not from when I first deposited. Then I wouldn’t have to battle with the thought, “Should I move back to the UK?” Just to withdraw from my ISA and sell our UK house.

Van Life

We fought against our frugal nature and bought a vehicle. A little compact Renault Kangoo van, 2017 with 80,000 km on the clock. It cost £6700, here’s the reasoning:

We want to explore Sweden whilst we live here. We’re already realising that we probably won’t stay here forever and having a car will mean we can explore more as where we moved to is off the beaten track and public transport isn’t great.

We could rent a car for a reasonable price, around £35 per day. For our next trip, exploring the Swedish West Coast, we’d need a car for 2 weeks, this would cost around £500.

We figured we’d have to rent a car for at least two trips per year, one in the summer, and one for snowboarding in the winter (trains are actually more expensive than renting a car!) That’s at least £1000 per year in car rentals for trips. In addition to that, having a car would actually make our life here a little easier:

  • Being able to shop at the cheaper grocery places and not pay a £5+ home delivery charge.
  • Going to the main shopping centre (15 minutes drive away) without having to pay £7 each to get there and back on the bus.
  • Taking the recycling to the closest bins without having to cycle for 30 minutes with a bike cart.
  • Being able to use the car to go to doctors appointments etc.
  • Small day trips around our area become much easier, certain places turn into a 10 minute drive instead of a 1h, £4 bus trip or a 30 minute up-hill cycle.

The final straw that broke the frugal, car-free, camels back for me was that we wanted to go on a hiking trip to the Swedish High Coast. This trail would take a week and there was no public transport to get there. I really didn’t want to pay £350+ for a rental car that would sit being unused for most of the time whilst we hiked.

So, we’d save £1000+ on trips (and actually go on the trips instead of not wanting to,) and we’d make our life a little easier in the Swedish suburbs. Now why did we choose a fairly expensive compact van?

£500 banger vehicles don’t exist in Sweden, and mechanics are expensive. So one of those car-hacks was out of the question. I also didn’t want to spend £1000-£2000 on a fairly old vehicle that could end up costing a lot with repairs. But then we thought of the car rental app that we had been using, GoMore.

GoMore is like AirBnB for cars and vans, we have used it multiple times to rent a moving van as it was always the cheapest available option. The company provides insurance for the renters and takes a 20% cut of the rental price, the last person we rented a van from said it covered the cost of his van!

So, we bought a vehicle perfectly suited to renting out for picking up furniture or moving. We added roof racks and will buy an add-on trailer. The hope is to be able to rent out the van for at least 5 days per month at around £35 per day. After fee’s and taxes we are hoping this will cover a chunk of the depreciation, repair, and opportunity costs of the vehicle and when considering the reduced holiday costs (by not having to rent a vehicle or catch a train,) may even save us money.

I’ll do a full post once we’ve owned the car for a year!

First Swedish Road Trip

Now that we had our little compact van, there was no excuse to not go on a road trip. We loaded it up with wild-camping gear and headed out to the Swedish west coast.

Sweden really is something, I’ve never seen sights like I did on this trip. Thousands of islands off the coast of cute little fishing villages. Beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters.

We camped on top of rocks by the sea, and by runic burial grounds smattered with wild flowers.

Monthly Round-Up

  • Steam Deck handheld PC
    • The cheapest ever gaming PC, these things look amazing! Mrs SavingNinja pre-ordered one, they will be perfect for when we move again as we’ll be able to bring a gaming PC with us without having to ship a massive PC tower across the country.
  • Vim Adventures
    • A game that helps you learn Vim. I think programming games are the future of learning how to code, you can just play a game and bam you’ve learnt something :]
  • What is the most unforgettable Reddit post that everyone needs to read?
    • Another interesting Reddit super thread full of interesting stories.
  • Google Doodles olympics
    • Have you played this yet? It’s a game that you can play from Google search, it goes waaay beyond Google’s dinosaur game.
  • Allkeysshop
    • Searching for the cheapest game CD key has never been easier! I used to have to look at all of the CD key websites individually, this website aggregates them.
  • Noclip
    • Fly through some of the most iconic game design levels, really interesting if you’re into game development and want to see how to model a game environment.

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Savings Report #36 – 3 Years of Savings https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-36-3-years-of-savings/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-36-3-years-of-savings/#comments Fri, 02 Jul 2021 08:27:44 +0000 https://thesavingninja.com/?p=503669 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.



This is my 36th Savings Report.

I’ve been writing to you, every month, for 3 years in a row. Crazy, right?

Let’s use this anniversary to take a trip down memory lane…


I posted my first Savings Report in 2018 at 27 years old with £24,954 in total investments, £14,154 in my pension and £10,800 in my pre-pension accounts.

I owned my own home with my fiancee which we purchased a year prior as our first property and I personally held £26,628 in equity.

My total net worth was £51,583.

My first savings report! I’m hoping to do these once a month.

Savings Report #1

On my 13th Savings Report I reached £100k net worth on the same month I got married.

On my 18th Savings Report I passed my goal of having £100k invested in the stock market.

On my 36th Savings Report, this one, I reached £200k invested in the stock market, it took 1 year and 6 months to grow from 100k to 200k.


My biggest investment loss was in March 2020 which saw my portfolio drop by -13.35% at £14,613.

My biggest investment gain was in November 2020 which saw my portfolio increase by 11.04% at £15,294.

With interest and contributions combined, my portfolio grew an average of 4.88% per month, an annualised increase of 77.14%!


I shared on my 18th Savings Report that I would be taking an Algorithm specialization course in preparation for a year of trying to get into a large tech company.

On my 24th Savings Report I shared the news that I’d be moving to Sweden to start working for my dream employer.

On my 26th Saving Report I posted for the first time after expatriating from the UK to Sweden.

In 3 Years…

Net worth: £51,584 → £259,287

Pension: £14,154 → £124,270

Pre-Pension: £10,800 → £78,835

House Equity: £26,628 → £56,183

Got married ✓
Dream job achieved
Left the UK

What will the next 3 years bring?

Reverting Back to GBP

As you may have noticed, I’ve changed everything back into GBP from dollars. I was fed up with having to convert everything in my head back into pounds every time I looked at it, it was creating a kind of disconnect from my savings. So, even though most of my earning and investments are in dollars and Swedish Krona right now, I’ll be converting it into GBP automatically on the spreadsheet.

However much I don’t want to be British, I need to just come to terms with the fact that my brain works in British pounds!

I’ve still kept the multi-currency display for dollars and euros with the ability to change it in the Super Spreadsheet.

Our First Harvest

Our garden is looking beautiful right now.

We’ve had a lot of problems with slugs, caterpillars, and black flies, but the Ninja household took each problem as they came and solved each one. We’re now starting to get some bountiful harvests.

Calculating my Expenses

I wanted to make a new budget when our expenses settled down after moving into our Swedish property last April, but everyone is so ‘Lagom’ here that they’ve not even bothered to send us our bills yet.

I’ve even rang the internet company half a dozen times asking if they have all of my details and why they haven’t sent us a bill? They’re awful.

Imagine having to beg a company to charge you in the UK? All of these bills will probably come through with a big bang at the end of the year when they finally decide to do some work.

We finally received our first electricity bill which was a lot higher than we were expecting. In Sweden the main bulk of your electricity for each area is provided by one monopoly, in my case Eon for the ‘line charge.’ This came to around £70 last month and it’s mostly fixed, we’ll have to pay another fee on top of this for usage but we can change that company and I shopped around for the cheapest deal (they’ve yet to send us the bill…)

Even though we haven’t had all of our bills fully through yet, I think we have pretty solid idea of expenses so I’ll do the budget spreadsheet soon to figure out our true outgoings (or close-to-true.) Then Mrs SN can start investing again and I can be sure that the 36,000 SEK I’m contributing each month isn’t too much.

Monthly Round Up

  • Espanso snippet manager
    • I spent years trawling the internet for a free text expander that wasn’t absolute rubbish. I’ve finally found the one!! This piece of software is incredible and very intuitive. It allows you to save any kind of text behind a keyword and whenever you type that keyword, it will print, no matter where you’re typing. The settings are handled beautifully in yaml and it even has a brew install option.
    • Remember a few reports ago I said I had a trial writing an article for a popular coding tutorial site? I used Espanso exclusively for wrapping HTML tags like:

      ;bold for <em></em>

      and

      ;link for <a href=\"\" rel=\"noopener\" target=\"\\_blank\"></a>

      It saved me a bunch of time. You can also text expand with scripts and in-built functions like <date> and <time>, the possibilities are endless!
    • And it’s cross-platform!! And FREE!
  • My work is providing a Herman Miller chair and standing desk for my home office, posh.
    • I always wanted to try these legendary chairs, but my frugal sentiment never took the plunge. Now I’ll have one bought for me, yay for not having a dodgy back!
  • Esparanto
    • A language created to be a universally spoken second language which can be learned in one hour. How friggin cool? I might pick this up on Duolingo.
  • Pod cooling mattress
    • A water cooled mattress with its own water pump that can heat and cool you. This is perfect for me as I always want to be cold in bed. Why does America have all of the coolest things?
  • GitHub Copilot
    • The future of coding is here. An AI pair programmer which can help you spot mistakes and suggest solutions as you code. Created in collaboration with OpenAI. Are we one step closer from robots taking over programmers jobs? I better get to my FIRE number quick. Sign up to the beta with the link above.

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Savings Report #35 – I’m Turning into a Spendy Pants https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-35-im-turning-into-a-spendy-pants/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-35-im-turning-into-a-spendy-pants/#comments Sat, 12 Jun 2021 07:30:00 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503634 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.



Hello guys!

This is the latest I’ve posted a monthly update in almost 3 years. Sorry about that.

I’ve been experiencing some site outages due to going above 100% CPU on my free Google Cloud hosting tier. This started randomly happening so I was reluctant to upgrade to the standard tier. I also don’t yet have a desk set up at my new place so I don’t have access to my work station where I would normally manage this website. This somewhat delayed the update.

I seem to have got it under control now, but I’ll be leaving the 5 second delay to connect to the site switched on for the time being. When I have my workstation set up, I’ll be trying to migrate to a GeneratePress theme which is a lot more speedier and modern.

My long term plans are to build the website myself and switch to static hosting. This will mean comments will be gone eventually, but I think that Twitter is good enough for interaction.

Anyway, back to the Savings Report! Better late than never.


My companies stocks dipped very low this month and I know that they should be worth much more so I took my emergency fund and invested around £10,000 into them.

I know this goes against all conventional wisdom, but I’m genuinely excited about their future plans so I thought that if I hold long term, I should be fine. The stock increased by about 10% in a few days.

I have a little over 4 years left for my companies stock to grow by 100% for a big share scheme payout (this is different from the £10k I just bought personally) so I got a little disheartened when it dropped to lower than the price it was when I joined, but there’s still plenty of time left, so here’s to hoping!

I also increased my regular monthly investments to 36,000 kr (currently about £3100,) the Swedish government is paying me back around £6,500 in overpaid taxes in June so I’m going to use that to refill my emergency fund a little faster.

More Frivolous Spending

We spent around £1,850 on Kayaks this month!

As we live in the archipelago of Stockholm, we thought that we should enjoy our time in Sweden to the upmost and explore the islands via kayak. We even got some camping equipment so we can make the most out of Sweden’s ‘Freedom to Roam’ and go on some long kayak and camping trips.

As we don’t own a car, these babies are the next best thing.

Is Sweden turning us into spendy-pants? It could just be the change of scenery, or the fact that my net worth is now around a 1/4 of a million quid. Or maybe it’s because I’m not rushing to FIRE anymore? I enjoy my job and I don’t have a terrible 3 hour round-trip commute.

Who knows, but at least this was one of the goals that I wanted to achieve, to spend more money, remember the guest post I wrote for Mr1500?

But I should try to turn the tap down a little bit, since moving to our new place last April we have spent:

  • £1080 – LG CX 55inch OLED TV
  • £650 – Second hand Kawai ES8 electric piano
  • £1850 – Two Kayaks and accompanying equipment
  • £250+ – Wood and soil for multiple raised beds for growing vegetables
  • £3000+ IKEA/other furniture for our new place (we had to get everything!)

That’s almost £7,000. But I have split this with Mrs SavingNinja so I guess you could call it £3,500.

It’s still an awful lot of money, more than we’ve ever spent, but we did have to buy literally everything here; in the UK we lived mostly with hand-me-down furniture from the in-laws. But this spending has led to a nice realisation: these purchases have not really affected my ability to invest.

Now that I’ve actually spent a fair whack of money and seen that the world isn’t falling down around me, I don’t think I’ll feel as bad when buying small things anymore, maybe I’ll even be able to buy one of those expensive motorway service station sandwiches eventually without feeling terrible.

If we ever did move back to England I know that I’ll feel like everything is an absolute bargain after being exposed to the 4 X prices of Sweden. There was no better place to move to forcefully increase my spending (although I didn’t think I’d buy more things in general!)

Monthly Round Up

  • DeFi investing
    • I’ve been looking into decentralised investing this month, or DeFi for short. It’s technology that uses the blockchain to create an investing platform that is not owned by anyone, but a collection of people on a decentralised platform – or so it should be!
    • I actually invested around 1000 GBP into it to try out a technique called yield farming, this is where I’m effectively the lender to people wanting to borrow and I earn these weird coins as a reward for providing my liquidity to the platform.
    • Not impressed so far, there are so many different skins of websites because there is zero regulation. Seems a bit like a Ponzi scheme backed by a decent idea. As everything is ‘decentralised’ how are people meant to choose the best platform? There are no regulations and no laws.
    • Platforms I’m ‘invested’ in so far are Cream Finance, Shushicoin, and Bao
    • I wouldn’t recommend this as to the cost to execute trades on the Etherium blockchain is ridiculous, my investment instantly dropped to around $700 just because of transaction fees, and it would be a similar cost to withdraw it.
  • Heroku
    • I found out about this awesome service this month when I wanted to host an email-bot server for Slack. Heroku lets you run tiny servers for free and you can set them up (or clone them) directly from GitHub. Whenever you push to GitHub, the server gets redeployed. It’s the easiest I’ve ever found setting up a server, and it’s free.
    • I’ll be using this for mini projects like Slack bots going forward!
    • The cool thing about it is even if you don’t know much about server development, you can find another Heroku server which does something similar to what you want to accomplish, fork and clone it in seconds, then just edit your project via git to change little bits. Super easy.
  • Web Alert
    • I’ve been trying to buy a 30 series GPU to try out crypto mining. Due to the current shortages I needed something that monitored stock statuses. Someone at work recommended this nifty little app. You can load a website and click on any HTML element and it will refresh it every 5 seconds and let you know when it changes, it will even keep previous revisions, and it’s free. So cool!
    • If I ever need to monitor stock or keep revisions of websites I’ll be sure to use this in the future, it’s been working really well so far. It’s really cool how your phone is the server too, so there is no cost to them to provide the app (unlike the other GPU stock tracking software which pings you and requires servers to run.)
  • Reddit Lore
    • I stumbled upon a the concept of ‘Reddit Lore’ which led me to a huge old Reddit post titled: Throwaway time! What’s your secret that could literally ruin your life if it came out?
    • This post is from 9 years ago and went down in Reddit history coined as the biggest and most disturbing Reddit post of all time.
    • It took me weeks to read it all, but it was worth it. Some of the commenters revealed shocking secrets, but what makes the post cool is a lot of them came back to their posts and edited them years later with updates. A few even came back every couple of years to post an update. I’ve never read anything quite like it and it highlights how unique Reddit is.
  • Tuplas
    • I fell down another Reddit rabbit hole describing ‘Tuplas.’
    • These are completely separate entities a person can forcefully create for themselves who will behave completely independently from your own consciousness. Although it hasn’t been scientifically proven yet, people have argued that these are what imaginary friends are when you’re younger as it’s easier to create a ‘Tupla’ when your younger.
    • Read through some posts on the Tupla subreddit if you dare or try searching through some wikis and YouTube.
    • It’s all very interesting, I read one post that explained how God could be a Tupla for many religious people, when they have an epiphany or ‘holy experience’ where ‘god spoke to them,’ this could just be a Tupla that they’ve created in the form of their God. The ‘proven’ theory behind forcefully creating a Tupla shares many things with religious ceremonies (prayer which is like meditation, reaffirming the belief that he is real, continually giving attention to this figment of your imagination.)
    • I don’t think I’ll be trying to make a Tupla any time soon to see if the theory deserves merit, interesting nevertheless.

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Savings Report #34 – Adding a New Property to the Portfolio https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-34-adding-a-new-property-to-the-portfolio/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-34-adding-a-new-property-to-the-portfolio/#respond Mon, 10 May 2021 07:30:00 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503619 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.


In April we moved to our new property in Sweden, we detailed the full account in last months Savings Report. This month, it was time to add my new house equity onto the SN Super Spreadsheet.

Our house in Sweden cost us 3,495,000 SEK, which equates to roughly £300k. We paid a 15% deposit (the minimum here,) so £45k; and we split it equally. That’s where the additional £22,500 in ‘Total Property Equity’ is coming from in the spreadsheet, my half.

Adding that to my existing house equity from our home back in the UK and it brings my total property equity to almost £56k, nearly on par with my Pre-Pension Pot and it brings my total net worth to £236k, staggeringly close to my original FIRE target of £300k which I set when SavingNinja began.

I still don’t know how much we’ll have to pay for bills in this new place, as soon as we find out I’ll be vigorously ramping up my monthly savings again to try to re-compensate for lost time, my goal was originally to hit my lean-FI target before I turned 30; this gives me 8 months.

They Grow so Fast

Remember those baby tomato plants we planted 2 months ago?

Here they are now:

They’re huge! And taking up most of our living room. Sweden has had an unseasonably cold April so we’re waiting for another few weeks before putting them in the raised beds outside.

Home Sweet Home?

It’s starting to feel a little more like home here after the move last month. We had our final IKEA order arrive last week and now all of our clothes have a place to live. The office section of our bedroom is almost clear, although I’ll be sitting on the sofa while working for a while longer as in June, my company is sending everyone ‘premium’ desks that can switch to a standing position along with ergonomic chairs, so I thought it would be best to wait for this rather than buy my own one now.

There haven’t been any other association meetings since last month, we have met quite a few of the neighbours though and they’ve all been really nice. Surprisingly most of them are mid-thirties, in tech, with young toddlers and we have quite a lot in common, other than the babies!

Everyone told us that Swedish people won’t be friendly or neighbourly, but we were more friendly with our Swedish neighbours in a week than we were for over 3 years in our UK property. I’m guessing the forcing of us being in an association brings us together, or it could just be because we lived in a shitty maisonette in the UK with dodgy neighbours.


There’s not much more I want to talk about this month. I feel like it’s gone so quickly because we spent most of it unpacking!

There are a couple of posts I’d like to make soon, it’s been a long time since I posted anything but savings reports, these will be:

  • Being a landlord, the financials
  • Cost of living in Sweden
  • Our Composting Journey and Living Without a Bin (Mrs SN)
  • My experience with yield farming in the DeFi space

How was your month?

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Savings Report #33 – Keeping Up With the Johanssons https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-33-keeping-up-with-the-johanssons/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-33-keeping-up-with-the-johanssons/#comments Sat, 10 Apr 2021 08:09:15 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503599 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.


The stock markets had a bit of a resurgence, although they’ll probably drop again next month. I passed £200k net worth. But all of this reporting is getting a bit mundane, don’t you think?

It was a little more exciting when I was contributing more heavily and seeing my stash grow by huge amounts each month, but now it almost feels like observing a wave coming in and out, or reporting the weather. But it’s worse because I don’t track the markets, I have no idea why they’re going up or down, I just look at my numbers like a good passive investor, so there’s not much I can say other than, “Looks like they’ve gone up again this month.”

I do enjoy writing my journal entries each month though, so I don’t want to stop these monthly ‘reports,’ although I might skip the financial commentary unless something spectacular happens from now on, but still upload the above financial snapshot image.

We Own Two Houses

“We own property in multiple countries.” Sounds posh, eh?

We’ve effectively moved ‘out to the sticks’ in Sweden, about 1 hour north of Stockholm. This is fine for me as I’m now fully remote, but it’s a bit of a nightmare for Mrs SavingNinja as she has to get 3 busses into work. She’ll be trying to switch careers into something which she can eventually do remotely this year. If she’s successful, we’ll be truly untethered from a single location and we can pick our perfect spot in the world.

The location we’ve moved to is really beautiful, all of our neighbours own multi-million pound mansions with their own private jetties, as theFIREstarter said to me, I have to be careful not to fall into the trap of ‘keeping up with the Johanssons!’

I feel like we’ve bought a shed in their back garden.

We feel happy here, but I seem to always have the feeling of impending doom deep in my gut, maybe this is just my natural state?

Here’s how the first week went…

Easter Weekend

We rented a van for 2 days to move out of our Stockholm apartment and do some big shops. The move went well but it was a mad rush to do everything as we also purchased SEVENTY bags of soil and a bunch of wood to make our raised beds, we haven’t put them up yet… We’re thinking our maths must have been wrong, surely we don’t need this much!?

They’re now sitting outside of the house waiting for better weather

Monday

We built a compost bin out of pallets that we found on our street.

We don’t plan on paying the £50 per month to have our bins collected. Especially because this doesn’t even include recycling, we have to take all of our cardboard, plastic, metal, glass etc to a recycling centre no matter what (it’s crazy there is no service!)

So, we came up with the brilliant plan of recycling all of our food waste into this compost bin, Mrs SavingNinja did a lot of research before moving here and we’ll hopefully be fine. We plan on throwing some things down the toilet, like stuff picked up from the hoover and left over cat food, but all food waste and cardboard will go into the compost and everything else will be recycled. If there is a small amount of waste we just can’t get rid of, Mrs SavingNinja is going to have to take it into work in a small bag to dispose of secretly!

Side Note: All of our neighbours must think we’re crazy-green people as we’re the only people in the association of 12 houses without a car or bin collection. Little do they know that we’re just tight frugal.

Tuesday

Our big IKEA order arrived with our bed (we’d been sleeping on the floor up until this point,) sofa, kitchen table, one storage unit, and some other bits. We spent most of the day assembling.

This produced another side-affect; a lot of cardboard and plastic. We decided to take our first trip to the ‘local’ recycling ‘centre.’ We filled up a box and a couple of IKEA bags and started walking, after getting past the two neighbours that offered to take it for us whilst giving us weird looks, we were on our way!

The Swedish authority recycling map said it was a 10 minute walk away, which it was, ish. But there was another problem, the map had failed to tell us that it was only a ‘centre’ for cardboard… And it was already full and overflowing. Ahhhh…

The closest center which takes all recycling is a 30 minute walk away.

This kinda sucks, I thought we were living in a green country? They don’t have any service to collect recycling and they just expect you to own a car?

We stuffed the cardboard into this one bin as much as we could and hauled everything else back to the house.

We purchased a…£100…bike trailer (cheapest we found,) for online delivery which should come in a week’s time. Hopefully this will make our recycling problem more bearable as it cuts the 30 minute walk into an 8 minute cycle, which isn’t too bad. If we have to get a car I’m going to be sad.

Wednesday

Organising the house, trying to put some clothes away in our one set of drawers, we also built a small shed behind the house to put tools etc. in.

We bought the bricks and shed when we had our van!

This was also the day we had our first ‘association’ meeting. Nothing prepared me for how weird this would be. There are 12 new build properties on this plot and we’re all part of an ‘association’ so we pay about £180 per month to a pot to cover the grounds, buildings, and other things of all 12 properties, kind of like ground rent in the UK for a flat, but all 12 families manage it themselves through meetings.

The estate agent told me that we’d be able to do anything that we liked to the garden as long as it isn’t permanent, e.g. make raised beds, put sheds up, as long as there is no concrete foundation. But in this meeting everyone was asking permission for everything, apparently you need permission from the local authorities (and the association) to even extend your decking. We’d already built a huge compost bin on our garden boundary by this point, and bought the materials for 4, rather large, raised beds.

We didn’t say anything, and we’re hoping we can just ask for forgiveness afterwards. It’s going to get pretty hairy if they say we need to ask for permission.

What followed was them deciding on a colour we should all conform to for awnings. And then deciding on what specific building numbers to get and saying everyone needs to buy them with their own money, after shooting down a couple who had already bought their house numbers and saying that they’re too hard to see. It seems they want us all to be identical clones.

This isn’t really the type of people we are… We want to be alone in the woods, not involved in all of this politics which seems to be happening in just the first meeting.

Thursday And Friday

We spent the last two days of our week off on making another IKEA order and continued organising. We still had a lot of furniture we needed to get and we wanted to make sure we got it right as it’s impossible to return anything without renting a car.

What Have We Learnt?

Life is actually really hard without a car. It’s harder when you’re not in a city, and when you’re in Sweden.

Hopefully it will get a little better after we have settled in and fallen into a natural groove.

But this was always our half-way house, we’ll spend the next 2-3 years planning our next adventure whilst hopefully not getting too annoyed by the associations ‘rules.’ It’s a beautiful place, but not quite what we want long-term. The point of buying was to stop spending the ludicrous £1500 rent in Stockholm. The mortgage interest and bills only amount to around £500 between us here, at the cost of ‘locking in’ our decision for at least a couple of years.

I think it was the correct move, even if we have to get a car!

Random Thoughts

  • Life is a Picture – Wait But Why
    • I really enjoyed this post, I need to investigate the Ted Talk that he linked to as I certainly would benefit from more investigation into the happiness topic! It describes perfectly the notion of ‘The Grass is Always Greener’ and how most people feel this way, and it’s described in a humorous Wait But Why way.
    • Here’s the Ted Talk: The surprising science of happiness
  • Living a FI update
    • Really honest and raw post about how Living a FI’s life went after he retired 5 years ago. A sobering read which a lot of us FIRE-types would benefit from, life isn’t static.

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Savings Report #32 – I’m now a Farmer https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-32-im-now-a-farmer/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-32-im-now-a-farmer/#comments Wed, 03 Mar 2021 08:56:39 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503578 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.


The stock market has been a bit flat lately. In other news, I’ve started saving into a pre-pension account again, I’ve opted for 12,000 Kr per month at the moment which equates to around £1000; I hope to increase this as my personal financial situation settles even more.

Packing up Again

It’s now under a month until we move into our new Swedish property. We’ve begun packing up all of our belongings again, by this point it feels like a regimented process. The boxes that we’re using are the same ones that we used when moving from England, and then we used them again moving to this apartment after our 1 month short-term lease when we arrived in Sweden. This will be the third time! Some of them look a bit battered, but it’s nothing a lot of brown tape can’t fix, I’ll actually be a bit sad throwing them away.

This will be our first property with a garden, and a modestly big one at that. So, as it’s our dream to own a farm/ranch style property in the future, we thought we would use this one as a v0.1 to see if we like farming! We have absolutely no idea what we’re doing, and we’re unsure if anything will actually grow, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

To start things off, we bought a few seed starter pots and sowed beetroots, leeks, dill, sprouts, sprint onions, and San Marzano tomatoes. I love these tomatoes and they’re very expensive to buy in the supermarket, especially here in Sweden, so I planted a whole tray and a couple of other smaller ones with just these tomatoes. Remember, we don’t know what we’re doing here, I just like tomatoes…

It was only afterwards that I realised how much space even 1 tomato plant needs, especially San Marzano plants which can grow up to 5 feet tall! Bugger, I’ve planted 27 of them. My garden is going to turn into a tomato farm.

I figured out that we’ll need to build a raised bed which is 44cm high, 100cm wide, and 200cm in length to plant 8 of the tomato plants, we’ll also need to build some sort of trellis for them to cling on to. We’ll have a lot of building projects to do as soon as we move in as the plants will need to be transplanted not long after our move in date.

Speaking of construction projects, we also plan to build one of these:

And this sexy Swedish fence:

Good job I’m now working from home indefinitely now!

Random Thoughts

  • I passed my probation at work! There hasn’t really been an official ‘Well Done,’ as I was expecting, more of a, “Yeah, 6 months have passed, so your probation is over.” It’s silly how nervous people get over these things, but that’s a small weight off my shoulder at least, I’m now an official permanent Senior Engineer at a big tech company. Woohoo!
  • I’ve applied to become an author for a popular technical tutorial website, if I get the gig I’ll be writing an article every couple of months at $600 a pop. This can also lead to being an author of books released on the same website where the pay is a percentage of the profits. Hopefully all of this blogging will have prepared me enough for the writing side. I’m having a ‘Tryout’ in mid-April, wish me luck!
  • I’m going to be applying to a management position at work soon, this is the next progression step that I want to take. I’m also going to a leadership conference in April to prepare for the job. I’m hoping that by the end of the year, I’ll land, or be very close to landing, a engineering management position. But, I’m not going to doggedly pursue it like I normally do, I’m happy with the level I’m currently at, and I’m going to enjoy the ride, I need to stop focusing so much on progression and achievements.
  • I’ve been looking into Digital Gardening thanks to Mr RIP, check out this awesome explanation by Maggie Appleton. This led me down the path to setting up my own ‘Personal Knowledge Management’ (PKM) system in an awesome piece of software called Obsidian, I’m actually writing this post in Obsidian right now! The purpose of a PKM is to have your notes and documents linked in a knowledge graph so you can easily see and explore your thoughts, like a second brain. Watch this video if you want to learn more. It’s made me think that I want to turn these entries into more of a journal post rather than a financial report with a stipend of personal thoughts, more to be explored here.
  • I also found this cool shared bookmark tool when searching through productivity software, I’ve been meaning to sort out my messy bookmarks! Raindrop IO

Thanks for reading! How was your month?

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Savings Report #31 – I’m a Quarter of a Millionaire! https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-31-im-a-quarter-of-a-millionaire/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-31-im-a-quarter-of-a-millionaire/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2021 08:30:00 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503559 This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split...

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This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off $20,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 15k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 20k to reach financial independence.

Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart


I spent DAYS updating the Super Spreadsheet to support dynamic / multi currency. But looking at it now, I hate it. I guess when you’ve used a specific format for 30 months in a row, it’s hard to change.

My main salary is now in Swedish Krona, but I also hold a UK pension and ISA, and a large part of my new salary (in the form of stocks,) is in USD. So it kind of made no sense to continue documenting my net worth as GBP, and as of right now, I’m still smitten with the idea of eventually moving to the US, so the USD seemed like the best currency to convert everything to.

But…it’s weird, I’m used to tracking my net worth in Great British Pounds; this has been my yard stick for measuring my progress, I feel like I’m a little in the dark when just looking at dollars. For now, I’ve added a conversion next to the dollars for GBP so I can refer back to it until I (and you,) get my bearings.

So, yeah, I’ve blasted through my quarter of a million DOLLARS goal! Not quite as good as pounds, but maybe I can celebrate both achievements in this new, multi-currency, world?

Tech Debt

Of-course, now that I’ve moved countries, and currencies, this invalidated a lot of my pillar posts like My Journey to Financial Independence in the UK, in fact all of the history on that post is now a little weird and switches from GBP to dollars, should I just go ahead and update all of them?

Even the top section of these Savings Reports which states what my expenses are is now incorrect. I’ve changed ‘£12,000 worth of expenses per year’ to ‘$20,000 worth if expenses per year’ this is quite a bit higher than £12k, but it’s also, of course, plucked out of thin air as we still have no idea what our nominal expenses will be in Sweden. This also links to an article where I explain my ‘£12k a year expenses,’ which is now, also, wrong! There is a lot of tech debt to deal with, maybe I should be relying less on circular dependencies?

When will I hit FI Now?

Plugging my new $20,000 figure into the spreadsheets’ FI calculator, it states that I have almost 7 years to go. This has grown dramatically from the 19 months which is stated at the bottom of this website. Although, my years to FI formula is calculated based off the years’ average savings rate, which is currently not much, but should be increasing soon! When it does, my time remaining should drop again.

Meme Stocks

I never was against picking some stocks with a very small percentage of my portfolio. So, when I saw some Reddit posts on GME at $88 and then the day after it grew by 300%, I grimaced. I then threw £100 on AMC, BB, and Nokia and lost 50% almost instantly.

I’m taking the loss on the chin though. It’s still a very small percentage of my portfolio, and my thoughts are; I bought these as a hedge against another meme stock growing ridiculously. So I’ll either keep them until they triple in value, or go down to 0; knowing that I’m more than likely to lose it all. If one of them does ‘YOLO’ like GameStop did, I’ll use the profits from that for more risky r/WSB style punts.

Buying a Second Home

We’ve just signed the contract for our new Swedish house, and we hope to move in around April. We’re really excited to move into this place as it’s very unique. It’s actually smaller than the flat that we’re currently renting, but, it’s fully detached with a garden, and it’s only 4 minutes walk from the sea.

It’s actually a new build which comes with a top of the range kitchen, under floor heating, along with an iconic European metal roof which is sharply sloped to fend off the heavy snow falls.

We’re paying around £300k for it with a 15% deposit which is more than we’ve ever paid before. The house also comes with a £200 monthly union fee which covers the building and common area maintenance and insurance as is the style in most of these Swedish new build areas. Trying to navigate the Swedish paperwork, it seems this fee also contributes towards a mortgage which was taken out on all of the buildings (there are 12 of them,) so really the property costs more than £300k, but it’s hidden behind this community fee. When I calculated all of this, I thought the builders must be raking it in!! But, like most things in Sweden, tax is so high that it’s mainly the government that is raking it in.

What made me feel better about these fees is that this cost (the purchase price and monthly fee) is actually way lower than if we’d bought in central Stockholm, this place is about a 1h commute out of the city. We were considering some flats which were 30 minutes out of the city costing over £350k with a £350 monthly fee (although this fee did include electric and heating too.)

Working from Anywhere

Annoyingly, straight after we signed the contract for our new property, my employer announced a new work from anywhere initiative. Employees can now work from anywhere within their existing region (EMEA for me,) receive the same salary and they will contribute to the employees bills and office equipment, they’ll even pay for a co-working space if they don’t have an office where you choose to live. This marks the first steps toward a distributed-first work place, as I’m sure will become the new norm for a lot of people post-COVID.

This has proceeded to send us into options overload with thoughts like…”We can work from anywhere, why would we choose Sweden?” But due to Mrs SavingNinja still having an in-the-office job at a school, and COVID still restricting travel, not to mention that we’ve just closed on a house purchase, we are kind of ignoring this new information for now. We’ll settle for at least a couple of years whilst we plan our next course of action, but this certainly changes the future dramatically and will definitely warrant a full post!


How was your month!?

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